Operations Division (Foreign)

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Operations Division (Foreign)
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
Part ofAdmiralty Naval Staff
London, Great Britain
In CommandDirector of Operations Division (Foreign)
FirstCaptain Charles Penrose Rushton Coode
LastCaptain Frederick R. Parham

The Operations Division (Foreign) was a staff division of the Admiralty Naval Staff established in January, 1918 to April, 1920,[1] and again from September, 1939 to January, 1947 . The division was administered by the Director of Operations Division (Foreign).


An Operations Division was established in January 1912 initially as a component part of the new Admiralty War Staff created by the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and later the Admiralty Naval Staff. It worked closely with the Naval Intelligence Division throughout most of existence. In January 1918 towards the end of World War One the work of the Operations Division was divided into two separate directorates one concentrating on naval operations in home waters to be called the Operations Division (Home), and the other to concentrate on naval operations in foreign stations abroad to be called Operations Division (Foreign). This division was first active until April 1920 when it was absorbed back into a single Operations Division. In September, 1939 the Operations Division was once again divided up into its previous World One One arrangement. It remained active until January, 1947 when the former arrangement for operations was restored.


The division was chiefly responsible for coordinating the distribution of the British fleet on foreign stations and for the general day-to-day, movements of each of the Royal Navy's units as ordered by the Board of Admiralty, and acted-upon initially by the Chief of the War Staff later Chief of the Naval Staff. However each of the individual Commander-in-Chief's regulated the movements of fleets, flotilla's or squadrons and ships that was under their respective commands.[2]

The division had to ensure that accurate information was constantly available at all times, this included the positions and conditions of all the most important ships. This was done by devising an operational plotting system that enabled the Admiralty to track of all ship movements, all scheduling of re-fits, monitoring fuel levels, and monitoring ammunition storage levels worldwide . The division would coordinate closely with the Operational Intelligence Center (OIC) within the Naval Intelligence Division..[3]

Director of Operations Division (Foreign)

  1. Captain Charles Penrose Rushton Coode, 18 January 1918 – 1 April 1920.[4]
  2. Captain Robert H.Bevan: September 1939 – September 1940
  3. Captain Gerald H. Warner: September 1940 – March 1941
  4. Captain John Terry: March 1941 – August 1942
  5. Captain Angus D. Nicholl: August 1942 – August 1944
  6. Captain Frederick R. Parham: August 1944 – January 1947


  1. Harley, Simon; Lovell, Tony (5 March 2018). "Operations Division (Royal Navy) - The Dreadnought Project". dreadnoughtproject.org. England.: Harley and Lovell. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  2. Black, Nicholas Duncan (2005). The Admiralty War Staff and its influence on the conduct of the naval between 1914 and 1918.’. University College, University of London. pp. 250–251.
  3. Black. pp.250–251.
  4. Harley and Lovell.